London: Former England batter Vikram Solanki has left his post as the head coach of county side Surrey with immediate effect. It was reported previously that Solanki might take up a director of cricket role with the new Ahmedabad-based franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL) though Surrey didn’t name the side in the league that the 45-year-old is going to join.
Media reports meanwhile confirm that the Ahmedabad franchise has also named Hardik Pandya as captain, while Shubman Gill and Afghanistan's star leg spinner Rashid Khan have been confirmed as their other two draft picks. Allrounder Pandya had been released by Mumbai Indians last November and had been touted as the captain of the new franchise for sometime now.
“Surrey has been an extremely valuable part of my life for the last nine years, both as a player and as a coach, making the decision to leave a difficult one. I am forever grateful for the level of support that has always been afforded to me and my family during my time here. A special thank you too to Alec Stewart who has been a mentor and a guide,” said Solanki.
Solanki first joined Surrey as a player in 2013 and went on to score 2400 runs across all formats. In 2016, he took on a player-coach role with the Second XI helping to develop the likes of Ryan Patel, Ollie Pope and Amar Virdi as they progressed towards their senior debuts. He remained with the Second XI for the 2017 season entirely in a coaching capacity.
Solanki was later appointed as the assistant coach under head coach Michael Di Venuto in 2017, helping to steer Surrey to County Championship glory in 2018 for the first time in 16 years before replacing the Australian at the helm at the end of the 2019 season. Though Surrey’s form in red-ball cricket nosedived, he guided the side to the final of the 2020 Vitality Blast and semi-finals of the 2021 Royal London Cup.
Solanki had been associated with the IPL in a coaching capacity before, when he was the assistant coach for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the 2019 edition. As a player, he represented England in 51 ODIs and three T20Is, scoring 1097 and 76 runs, respectively. Solanki even played five matches for Rajasthan in Ranji Trophy from November 2006 to January 2007.
Rahul, Stoinis and Bishnoi for Lucknow
Meanwhile, KL Rahul, Australian allrounder Marcus Stoinis and uncapped Indian leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi are all set to be picked by the Lucknow IPL franchise via draft ahead of the mega auction, scheduled for February 12 and 13 in Bangalore.
Rahul, who is leading India in the ODI series in South Africa, in all likelihood will also captain the Lucknow, which was bought for Rs 7,090 crore (USD 940 million approx.) last October by the RP Sanjiv Goenka Group.
After starting his IPL career in 2013 when Rahul was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore, he went to Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2014, and was traded back to Royal Challengers in 2016 before the Punjab franchise (then Kings XI Punjab) paid Rs 11 crore to buy him in the 2018 auction.